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Stawberry Tree not looking so good...

Posted by hpsandiego 10 (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 3, 14 at 17:54

Hi,
We planted our strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) about a year ago and we've been watering it fairly well since. Once it was new trying to remember every 2-3 days and now, I'll admit, we are a little forgetful and maybe 1/week or a little longer, but we do give it a long soak when we do. Our soil is a sandy loam conglomerate(?). We dug a very wide hole for the tree and put about 1/3 amendments in - but kept majority native soil.
It gets majority sun for the day (mainly morning and afternoon)
It looked good for a while - but not too much "growth" and now it's looking a little sick. Brown leaves and thinning out a lot.
What did we do wrong? Not enough water? Or is it just being wintery?
Thanks for your help! :)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Stawberry Tree not looking so good...

see link ..

specifically about amending at planting..

and more importantly ... how to water ..

how tall is that spindly trunk ... pic makes it look like about 20 feet.. lol ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Stawberry Tree not looking so good...

Thanks Ken,
The amending was told to us by several people, so if we should have not - oh well. Too late now I guess. The trunk is only about 6 or 7ft. tall. The photo was taken from a lower level retaining wall.
Can you tell by the leaves what is going on? Would your guess be water related? Too much - too little?


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RE: Stawberry Tree not looking so good...

winter damage of some kind.. whatever that mean to you in san diego ..

any cold snaps.. like the rest of us??

i will guess its evergreen for you ... those are old leaves.. and could have been damaged by the transplant.. just a little worn out.. and tired ...

the future is in the buds.. and this springs budding out.. how do those look ...

did you bone up on proper watering???? no tree needs water every few days... ever .. especially at depth ...

water the darn tree when it needs it.. inset finger to 3 inches.. and dont water it again.. until it is dry at that depth.. or hot.. meaning it will dry soon ...

dont worry about the amends.. just dont do it next time..

and never fert it ...

and finally .... next time... dont buy a tree that tall.. with that wimpy a trunk ... you went a bit toward instant gratification.. rather than a strong trunked tree ...

good luck

ken


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RE: Stawberry Tree not looking so good...

hps,
your soil was perfect for this tree, it loves great drainage.
It also likes it on the dry side. So mabey you were over watering it.
If it lives, take the wooden pole away from it.
That pole will weaken the trunk, it needs to toughen up and get stronger.
Your tree doesn't look good.
If it dies, and you want another one, don't amend the soil for the next tree.
Just mulch it good and wter it only once a week.
Thats what I would do.
And buy something that can stand on it's own with out a pole holding it up.
Poles are bad. Always take them off.
If the tree can't stand up on it's own without a pole, take it back.


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RE: Stawberry Tree not looking so good...

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 2:34

Arbutus 'Marina'. Grows to medium tree size, hence frequent production of starter specimens with elevated crowns. Burn pattern on leaf in lower left part suggests a mineral-salts-in-irrigation-water problem. Other top damage visible here might be due to different sources of trauma, maybe even an exposed car ride.


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RE: Stawberry Tree not looking so good...

Interestingly, I found this article with a curious statement in the last 2 paragraphs.

Here is a link that might be useful: diseases


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RE: Stawberry Tree not looking so good...

Yes - we meant to take that stake out earlier and we keep forgetting. The nursery told us that trees down here need water every 2-3 days the first year and then 1/week or 2 weeks from then on in the non wet months. Problem is, CA is in a terrible drought and we haven't gotten any rain at all. :( with our busy schedules I'd say that the last 4 months have just remembered to water once every 2 weeks. Funny, it was looking good until we started getting lazy about keeping up on the water. Bboy- thanks for the suggestion of a mineral issue. I'll look into it. We certainly don't have wonderful water out here. Any suggestions on how to fix it? Other than distilled water? Does it need more acid?


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RE: Stawberry Tree not looking so good...

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 14:52

Mulching always helps retard moisture loss from root zones, should be standard practice. If your new tree doesn't like your possibly hard water you can't do anything about that except flood it periodically to flush mineral salt accumulations down to lower levels.

Tree upon which cultivar is based grew in San Francisco. However, I have seen established examples growing in the Los Angeles area.


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RE: Stawberry Tree not looking so good...

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 17:38

Funny, it was looking good until we started getting lazy about keeping up on the water.

I think you answered your own question right there.


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